ABSTRACT: “Teaching is like nightshifts …”: a focus group study on the teaching motivations of clinicians.
BACKGROUND:To ensure the highest quality of education, medical schools have to be aware of factors that influence the motivation of teachers to perform their educational tasks. Although several studies have investigated motivations for teaching among community-based practitioners, there is little data available for hospital-based physicians.PURPOSES:This study aimed to identify factors influencing hospital-based physicians’ motivations to teach.METHODS:We conducted 3 focus group discussions with 15 clinical teachers from the Medical Faculty at Hamburg University. Using a qualitative inductive approach, we extracted motivation-related factors from the transcripts of the audio-recorded discussions.RESULTS:Three main multifaceted categories influencing the motivation of teachers were identified: the teachers themselves, the students, and the medical faculty as an organization. Participants showed individual sets of values and beliefs about their roles as teachers as well as personal notions of what comprises a “good” medical education. Their personal motives to teach comprised a range of factors from intrinsic, such as the joy of teaching itself, to more extrinsic motives, such as the perception of teaching as an occupational duty. Teachers were also influenced by the perceived values and beliefs of their students, as well as their perceived discipline and motivation. The curriculum organization and aspects of leadership, human resource development, and the evaluation system proved to be relevant factors as well, whereas extrinsic incentives had no reported impact.CONCLUSIONS:Individual values, beliefs, and personal motives constitute the mental framework upon which teachers perceive and assess motivational aspects for their teaching. The interaction between these personal dispositions and faculty-specific organizational structures can significantly impair or enhance the motivation of teachers and should therefore be accounted for in program and faculty development.